Publishers unite for the title fight

A new PPA initiative

For those advertisers used to hearing magazine sales directors knocking each other, the idea of seeing Condé Nast corporate sales director Charlotte Stockting and National Magazine Company corporate sales director Duncan Edwards walk through the door together and present to you may be too good to miss.

That is what the Periodical Publishers’ Association (PPA) is banking on with its new generic magazine advertising sales initiative. Ten of the most senior sales directors in consumer magazines are to visit clients to give presentations on the benefits of advertising in magazines.

“There will be a human response to this,” says Radio Times publishing director Rupert Miles – one of four group leaders of the teams which will make the presentations. “It sparks a curiosity in people just to see the different sales people working together,” he says.

The sales directors will be targeting motor, retail, fmcg and finance advertisers, whom they feel are not using magazines as much as they should be. Each advertiser will see presentations tailored to their needs, although IPC’s 100,000-plus Adtrack research will play a key component in the presentations.

It is part of a push to market generically magazines to advertisers. The move will coincide with a second annual national and trade press campaign under the heading “Magazines make things happen”.

Consumer magazines could be doing with the help. Their share of national advertising revenue (NAR) has been in steady decline over the past 15 years – from 8.3 per cent in 1980 to 5.8 per cent in 1993. Last year’s figure – available next month – is not expected to buck the trend.

The national, business and regional press have also lost share over the same period because advertising has increasingly concentrated on electronic media.

In the past two years the radio industry has turned its share of NAR, and increased ad revenue by more than 20 per cent each year.

Many praise the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) for engineering that growth. While this ignores the role of State deregulation, other media are intrigued by the idea of more vigorous ad marketing.

The outdoor industry, for one, is boosting the role of the Outdoor Advertising Association to make it easier for agencies and advertisers to gain access to research data.

Miles maintains that what the PPA is doing is better than a magazine advertising bureau: “The advertisers will get to see the people actually running the companies, not just hired spokesmen. They can be sure that if promises are made in the presentations they are being made by people who can keep them.”

Over the past ten years the number of consumer magazines has exploded in line with the rapid increase in the number and diversity of British leisure pursuits. In 1985 there were 1,763 consumer titles in the UK. Now there are 2,430 – an expansion of nearly 40 per cent.

The expansion underlines one of the reasons for the generic sell: “Magazines are not consumed in a broad way by marketing directors. They read specific titles they are interested in and know little of the rest of the medium. The strength of individual magazine brands tends to kill off the concept of magazines as a whole medium,” says Miles.


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